OK – I had a trip planned to NY this summer forever to go see the in-laws.  Miss them!  As it turns out, they have absolutely amazing food on Long Island.  I’ve blogged about the “food porn” before.  While I’ve been doing keto and crushing it – I had planned to do a “diet break” for up to 1 week since Christmas.

This is what I was looking forward to, outside of catching up with everyone:


Unfortunately, for reasons I can’t go into here, I had to cancel my trip to NY.  However, I decided I was still going to do the diet break.  My plan was this:

  1. Stay within 150 or so g of carbs
  2. Stay around 2200-2500 calories
  3. Have one indulgence per day, rather than destroy myself in a single day

This worked well for day 1.  Had 2 slices of pizza with fries for lunch on a Tuesday.  Dinner was a salad.  2200 calories.

Day 2 I biked (more on that below) and had about 2500 calories.

Day 3 (Thursday) I golfed and had a giant cheesesteak.  I estimated 4300 calories.

Day 4 (Friday) I had a really salty hoagie.  Estimated 2700 calories.

All in all, I would estimate using calorie math I’d gained 1 pound.


The scale disagreed, and I was up TWELVE pounds.


For those who aren’t overly familiar with low carb diets, this can be expected TEMPORARILY if you go off of your protocol.

You did not gain 12 pounds of FAT.  You added a lot of water to you.  Your body starts building more glycogen stores and your body just suddenly grabs all the water it can find and adds to your body.

One week later, I’m a total of 1 pound up.  So, I lost 11 of those 12 pounds after returning to keto.

Key takeaways:

  1. If you live a MOSTLY keto life, you can have “diet breaks” at times (rarely) in order to occasionally live like “normal” people.  Have a particular food you miss?  Put it on your list.  Schedule a 3 day weekend once every 3 months or so and have at it.
  2. You will TEMPORARILY gain weight.  Once you return to keto, you will lose the water weight again.
  3. I’d recommend not doing this until you are keto/fat adapted for at least 3 months, and according to Mark Sisson, 6 months.  After a long duration, your body adds more mitochondria to cells (so I’ve read) and you become much better at burning fat.  This allows you to “switch off” and “switch back on” your fat burning rather quickly if you falter.
  4. Beware – I feel carbs are like crack to me.  It’s a slippery slope.  I have had military precision with my diet for 6 months.  My foolproof plan of restricting myself to 150 or so carbs and 2200 calories lasted ONE DAY.  Diet breaks may NOT  be a good idea for you if you have problems getting back on the train.
  5. You will feel like dog shit.  Headaches, lethargy, thirsty, sleep like dog shit.  After 4 days, there may be things you still want to eat, but your body will be screaming at you from the inside out and beg you to go back to keto.  I was expecting a headache.  I was not expecting to feel like complete asshole sandwich.  My sleep was horrible.  I saw myself in the mirror on the day after and my eyes had bags, I was bloated, my face was holding weight – and I was twelve pounds up.
  6. This can be useful for planning around Thanksgiving/Christmas.  Have a plan for a few days, get in, get the fuck out, and get back to your diet.  Don’t sweat the scale for the week after.


Getting stronger

As I’ve written here, I have triathlon aspirations.  My goal is to do one next September, and to not finish last.  A sprint triathlon consists of:

  1. Swimming – about 800 meters, or half a mile
  2. Biking – 12 miles
  3. Running – 3.1 miles

Now, the pros at this are lightning quick and can do these in about an hour.  I’m not a pro.  I’m a 254 pound recovering fat person who is a competitor at heart and spent a lot of his youth as the all star baseball player who happened to be the fat kid.  I had a cup of coffee playing college tennis.  I sucked at high school wrestling.  I did karate for a bit.  Played golf, basketball and tons of other sports in leagues.

I’m an…..age grouper…..that’s what they call us in the triathlon circles.  You have the pros, then you have the amateurs who try to compete within their age group.

At 254 pounds…..I currently do:

  1. Swimming – train at 1,000 meters routinely.  Not overly fast, at all, but have the endurance.  I have a LOT of room to grow here with technique and losing weight.
  2. Biking – last week, I biked 22 miles on the rail trail with a hybrid.  Looking to upgrade to a road bike and get faster and build my endurance more.
  3. Running – I run occasionally at 3 miles.  Recently, shaved off over 3:15 from my 3 mile time in the last 2.5 months.  IMG_3882

In none of the above, am I particularly fast.  What will help this?

  1. Technique.  I’ve been watching a ton of youtube videos on these.
  2. Conditioning.  I train at longer distances, but I will also begin to train faster in shorter distances with intervals.
  3. Equipment.  This might give a 5-10% boost from what I’m seeing.  Still, if it helps the times, I like it.
  4. Weight loss.  I’d attribute my 3 minutes faster in the 3 miles due to being about 15 pounds less than April 29th.
  5. Surrounding myself with age groupers to try and get some training friends.  I am doing an indoor triathlon near my house in February.  This is actually a timed event rather than distance.  It turns out to be: 10 minutes of swim, 30 minutes of bike, 20 minutes of run.  For those elite athletes, they could do a sprint in this time.  For the rest of us, this is a great entry point.  If ANY of you are interested in at least seeing how you can do – lookup indoor sprint triathlon.  It uses stationary bikes, a pool, and a treadmill as opposed to lake swimming and road biking.  I’m at least HOPING I chat with some of these people and get some triathlon friends.

What’s also interesting is that if you ever look at long distance runners – they are really thin and lanky.  If you look at top bikers for distance, they are usually really thin and lanky.  Swimmers?  They might be a little more jacked.

As I’ve gone over before, my end goal weight is around 190-200.  Assuming I can continue to hold on to my current 160 pound fat free mass, this will leave me 15-20% bodyfat.  Maybe with a lot more conditioning I get down to 185 and 12%, but that might be another year after I hit 200.  But, if I’m doing a LOT of training, and on keto – it’s achievable.

However, now the question is – could I at 185 and 12% bodyfat compete with a 6’0″ and 165 pound runner/biker?

The answer – probably not.  However, of interest, one of the triathlon people I watch talks about how guys who have more muscle on them do much better at the Olympic triathlon rather than the sprint, due to their muscle and power.  The theory is these wiry guys can crush it at the short distances, but gas out for long distances.  So, maybe a guy at 180-185 might have a chance at Olympic distances.  What is that?  Double the sprint:

  1. 1 mile swim (I can do that, today)
  2. 24 mile bike (I can do that, today)
  3. 6.2 mile run (I cannot do that, today).  I believe if I really pushed myself, with my size, my running distance is capped around 4 miles, maybe 4.5.


But now, let’s take a look at age grouping.  I’m 42.  Maybe with 2-3 years of training, I might have a shot of getting near the top of the pack?  Probably not in running – but I do have a shot with the biking/swimming power aspects.

Let’s see how it goes!  Looking for a road bike soon.  I’m averaging about 11.5 mph on a rail trail with a hybrid, I’m looking to get to the 13-15mph pace with improving my gear and dropping another 10-20 pounds by the end of summer.

Nutrition – got back with my alternate day fasting on Monday as well.  M-W had about 700 calories for the day, Friday I had none and I’m on a 36 hour fast.  What helps my M-W fast days?  I have massive, massive, massive salads with 1 pound of chicken breast for protein.  You need to do this 🙂


Lastly – I’m also trying to reduce weight with walking/hiking/weight training.  My running/biking are NOT for weight loss, they are for fun.  The hiking is great because you can seriously build some leg strength, endurance, and heart conditioning without the pounding of the street or stress on your joints/muscles.  This past week, I hiked about 4.25 miles at a local trail.  Take a look at the numbers produced!!